Detroit Now & Then: Revival

Former Cleveland Intermediate School, Main Hallway

Since 1999, the Detroit Public Schools district has closed over 150 schools due to declining enrollment. Closing so many schools in such a short time frame has left a surplus of vacant school buildings on the property market, which are tempting targets for metal thieves and vandals.

After years of falling enrollment and deferred maintenance, Cleveland Intermediate Junior High School closed in 2009. Despite its architectural significance and close proximity to densely populated neighborhoods, the high cost of maintaining the building and poor test scores outweighed the advantages of keeping it open. Like many other schools, it was sealed up as best as was possible, and left to the elements.

Private schools, such as charter and parochial schools have moved to fill in the gaps left by public school closings. Several historic school buildings have reopened in the last few years as public charter schools, including Cleveland Intermediate. The school building got a second chance when a charter school bought the building in 2012 and began renovations.

Original photo: August, 2012
Current photo: November, 2013